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Bridges and gaps: The Singing Detective’s serial afterlife

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The Singing Detective has long been considered a high point of televisual storytelling. But what is its specific legacy as a serial narrative, particularly in the contemporary U.S. context of ambitious dramas? In many ways, the experiment of The Singing Detective remains an outlier. If the likes of Mad Men and The Sopranos have re-invigorated seriality by emphasizing the gaps between episodes—by making the narrative broken rather than connected—The Singing Detective’s continuing contribution lies in its insistence on bridging the disparate parts that make a serial: old and new, sound and image, memory and imagination, ritual and eccentricity.
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Keywords: Mad Men; The Singing Detective; U.S. television drama; gaps; repetition; ritual; serial narrative

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ohio State University

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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  • The Journal of Screenwriting aims to explore the nature of writing for the moving image in the broadest sense, highlighting current academic thinking around scriptwriting whilst also reflecting on this with a truly international perspective and outlook. The journal will encourage the investigation of a broad range of possible methodologies and approaches to studying the scriptwriting form, in particular: the history of the form, contextual analysis, the process of writing for the moving image, the relationship of scriptwriting to the production process and how the form can be considered in terms of culture and society. The journal also aims to encourage research in the field of screenwriting, the linking of scriptwriting practice to academic theory, and to support and promote conferences and networking events on this subject.
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